August is generally the 4th biggest month for golf retailers, but, surprisingly, tends to see less on-course sales than the other summer months. It's often a tough month for bricks and mortar shops. Not only are your members holidaying aboard, but this is the time that online and off-course stores run their sales.
Understandably, your knee-jerk reaction would be to try to compete, and discount some of your unsold stock as well. However, putting on a sale because "it's that time of year", is a risky tactic, and one which could see your average sales price (ASP) lowering to dangerous levels. Any discounting of stock should be planned to avoid having a negative impact on your bottom line.
Reasons for a Sale
At this time of year, golf shops should be running End of Season Promotions, rather than Clearance. And, we'd recommend a small, very targeted sale: perhaps on stock that you've had for a year, or end of season clothing.
Promotions and discounts are practices that some retailers just never get to grips with. So how can you ensure your sale will bring the maximum benefits to your business?
Firstly, you need a clear-cut method of determining which stock items to discount or discontinue. Use your stock management system, or EPOS, to identify which products and categories are selling slowly, or which have become obsolete. If you're an XPOS user, run the Unpopular Products report which will clearly show you which items aren't shifting.
It’s in the Timing
Sales work best if they’re unexpected to avoid customers anticipating them and holding out for cheaper purchases. At this time of year, a small sale of, say 25-50 items over the course of one weekend would work best.
There are many reasons for putting on a sale, but here are 3 of the most common factors:
There's a two-fold reason to clear-down stock. Firstly, to make space for the new season’s arrivals: a cluttered shop will degrade the overall look and appeal of the customer experience and make the retailer look disorganised.
Then, of course, there's the genuine business need to get cash back into the bank, which can be liquidated, and reinvested in new product launches.
The way to overcome these end-of-season pitfalls is to make good use of your monthly stock turn reports, which a good EPOS system should produce. These identify products that are either overstocked, or not selling through fast enough. Better to recognise them early, rather than at the end of the season when there are less golfers out on the course, and in the shop.
Sometimes, an item which has proven successful in previous years, may start to lag behind other items. It's taking up wall space so don't hang on in the hope that it will suddenly turn around.
Plan promotional activity to resolve the problem as soon as it's flagged-up in the reports. These could include:
- Discounts: percentage, or money-off
- Linked offers: Buy one get one free / Buy one get one half price (for example)
- Bundling: "Free pair of gloves for every club purchased"
Increase Foot Fall
So, the shop's looking great, the merchandise is on-trend, the sales team is incentivised and yet, sales are disappointing. There’s just one element missing – the level of foot fall: customers in the shop.
This is one of the most important metrics for retailers. It’s simply the number of people entering the shop. So, if footfall is down, it's time to do something about it. Try:
- Promotions. Get your marketing hat on to ensure your clearance sale is being advertised via social media, posters and emails
- Running an event appropriate to the time of year. Ask a supplier to help support your event with display materials
Attract New Customers
Sales are a great way for people to access your products at a lower price point and can be used to attract people who have never bought from you before.
As a retailer, you want to offer a good product range, combined with a great shopping experience, to ensure the first-timers become regular visitors at the normal prices.